I spent a fistful of hours last night writing an article on how to write better (and more better), then I thought to myself, “This is rubbish. Drivel. Putrefying cack.” So I sawed through the chain and went down to CVS at 3 AM. You need two cans of lighter fluid to burn any writing, especially poetry––one just wouldn’t be enough.
Mikey was slumped behind the bicycle rack at CVS like every night. Now here’s a man who, when you stare into his gaping maw, reminds you not of God’s Creation but a can of baked beans God took for a midnight snack and spilled on the carpet.
He felt the vibration of my footsteps and burbled awake. “Who goes there?”
“Just me, Mikey.”
He cackled. “Hey, my name’s Mikey, too! Let’s be friends.”
“It’s not my name and we already are. I was at your bar mitzvah last week.”
Thus ensued more cackling. “What a social butterfly. So where you going, honey?”
“To CVS. To burn this article and the rest of my stories.”
He shook his head and dust or bobbins or something delicate clattered across the concrete. “No! Don’t burn it. There’s a writing competition, did you hear?”
“They won’t take articles. And it’s a bad one, at that.”
“No, they take everything.” Mikey burped. “Fiction, non-fiction, chick-lit, sci-fi, kid-fic, ero-fic, laugh-fic, nerd-fic, self-aware hipster-fic, lit-fic, screenplays, and fan-fic.”
“What about poetry? Some have said (and those some are me) that I write like a cybernetic Beat on acid.”
Mikey threw up all over my dress, then wiped his mouth. “No … poetry …”
“I was joking, it’s not. What’s the prize for this competition?”
“Three days in sunny southern California and five thousand dollars. All I need is the paper and fifty dollars.”
“I said a hundred. One hundred dollars to enter the contest. You’re practically guaranteed to win. I mean look at you––I’m blinded by your talent, and I haven’t even read anything yet.”
I nodded. I pulled a roll of bills from my tights and dropped five curled twenties into Mikey’s paw.
When I got back home I realized the manuscript was still inside the crumpled pink bag I got from Lancome last summer. I’d forgotten to give Mikey the manuscript! I asked the stick what I should do, but he’d gone to bed. Of course he had––it was 3 AM!